Sunday, August 27, 2017

IndiGo wants its A320 pilots to fly turboprop planes

New Delhi/Mumbai: A shortage of trained pilots has forced India’s largest airline into asking pilots of its jetliners to fly to turboprop planes. In a strategy shift, IndiGo had ordered 50 ATR-72 planes in May to foray into regional aviation. It is likely to get seven planes by March and plans to operate 85 daily flights to 14 destinations from November.

According to internal mails reviewed by Business Standard, the airline has launched a programme under which commanders of its A320 planes have been given the option to fly ATR-72 aircraft for a period of two years. “To support the launch of turboprop operations, we are excited to announce a voluntary launch assistance programme for IndiGo captains. Participants will assist the launch of the turboprop operations by flying ATR aircraft for a limited period, after which they will have the option of return to A320 flying,” Ashim Mitra, vice-president (flight operations), said in a note to pilots on July 15.

However, the programme hasn’t got a favourable response until now. “Jet engine aircraft is always best for long-term career prospects. Normally, the course of journey for a pilot is to transition from turboprops to narrow-body jets, and then, if opportunity comes, he would move to wide bodies. Why would someone go the other way?” a commander, who did not want to be named, said.
27/08/17 Arindam Majumder & Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard